Creating a Buzz Around Books

On a recent fine spring morning, I was just starting my day when I noticed a sheet of paper on the floor with an upside-down glass resting on top of it. When I got closer, I could see that there was a small insect trapped under the glass. There was a note written on the piece of paper in my son’s handwriting: “What kind of bug is this?”

Photo of a small bugGreat question! And I loved that he wanted us to find out together. I also appreciated that he didn’t just smush the bug and leave its carcass on the living room floor. Too often I’ve seen kids run screaming or shriek “kill it” when they encounter an insect.

But bugs are nothing to fear. This fascinating and diverse group of creatures deserves our respect! Without insects, so many species — including our own — would not survive. We need bugs to pollinate plants, be a food source for animals, and play a role in decomposition of both plants and animals.

Helping kids understand what bugs are all about can increase their appreciation of the vital roles insects play in our ecosystems and help us better share the world.

Bug Buddies Toolkit

This summer, Reading Rockets and Start with a Book are all abuzz about Bug Buddies, our new online toolkit for educators, summer program staff, and parents that explores all things insect! We’ve combined hands-on activities with great recommendations for fiction, nonfiction, and poetry for 5 days’ worth of reading and learning fun.

Bug Buddies is great for families — think DIY camp — and for afterschool and summer learning programs but can also be adapted and used just about anywhere with kids aged 6-12. Bug Buddies activities will get kids both out of doors and into books for learning adventures. Here's what you'll find:

Day 1: What Are Bugs?
Dig into what makes an insect an insect, exploring insect anatomy and characteristics, especially the exoskeleton.

Day 2: Bug Life
Learn about bug life cycles and their crucial role in food chains and food webs.

Day 3: Bug Builders
Dive deep into bug habitats and adaptations. Discover where bugs live and how they adapt to their surroundings.

Day 4: Bugs in Our Lives
Explore pollination and decomposition. Without insects, we'd be without our favorite foods and have poor quality soil and lots of dead plants and animals lying around.

Day 5: Bugs and People
Look at bugs as inspiration. Engineers and scientists solve many problems by imitating bugs' abilities and traits.

Each day includes an option to Bug Out! and get kids outside to look for insects. Bug Buddies also includes journal writing prompts and a Bee A Bug Buddy activity to encourage kids to help protect insects and their habitats. 

Here on the Start with a Book blog, we’ll be hearing from authors, naturalists and other insect experts, and bug lovers throughout the summer about their experiences with kids and insects. We’ll also be pointing you to other resources that are the bee’s knees to help you make your home or classroom a hive of activity this summer!

In the meantime, I’ll be looking to figure out how to politely ask the now identified carpet beetles to leave my house.


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